I’ve always admired generous people. You know the ones. If you say how pretty or how nice something is, they offer it to you. Casually, easily. Without strings. They hug fiercely and give frequent, genuine compliments and praise. Nothing stiff or careful. Unselfconsciously giving, these people enjoy the hell out of giving pleasure to others
I want to be that person, but I’m not.
And while I believe you can improve your generosity quotient, I suspect truly generous people are born, not made.
Truly generous folks act from the heart, not the head. But in my head is where I make nearly all my decisions.
And I’m always worried. Will the other person feel uncomfortable if I offer plants from my garden, or even a ride to the airport? Will I screw up the compliment?(I have a horror of coming across as insincere.) Will they think I’m angling for something when I say I think their garden is fabulous?
I think too much.
Because simple generosity doesn’t feel natural to me.
Self-awareness can be the beginning of change, though. And self-awareness accompanied by self-acceptance is one of the benefits of getting older. I see myself more clearly and judge my actions less harshly than I did in my twenties.
No matter how much I may admire effusively generous people, I have to give who I am to others. As an introvert, I prefer focusing on one person at a time, asking lots of questions, and then offering gifts targeted to that person—which certainly explains my very slow and cautious inroads into the world of social media.
A relevant book on the topic is Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, by Susan Cain. If you’re an introvert, you may find this book reassuring and even validating.
And if you’re an extrovert, well, you’re likely your own validation. (No snark intended.) In fact, the whole world validates your natural tendencies. You don’t need mine. But if you ask, I’ll be glad to give it to you.
A gift from the other side of the fence.
Freely and generously offered.